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Chuck Caldwell’s i QCHABLES 0. 0 I 1731 New Hampshire Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009 From $29 up. Best buy in D.C. 800-424-2463 Call Toll Free Life Insurance and Annuities 0 F ~nLi le Martin Elfant, CLU 4223 Richmond, Suite 213, Houston, TX 77027 transportation, housing, and on occasion, medical insurance. Largely, however, the program did not adequately meet the needs of urban Indians. Many rural Indians who have moved to Dallas, unable to adjust to city life, became frustrated, and lost incentive. Once they got jobs the BIA cut off support and perhaps put their names on the waiting list for an apartment in one of the city’s “finest” federal housing projects. Those are occupied predominantly by impoverished chicanos and blacks, many of whom not only have problems similar to those of the Indians, but engage in competition with Indians for jobs, low-rent housing, and social status. In such competitions Indians are at a disadvantage, being less verbal and having less experience in the urban environment. The results for the Indians include health and educational problems, alcoholism, child neglect and abuse, violent crime. For a lot of Indians the BIA office was part of the problem. Frances Varga, a Creek who as a child came with her family to Dallas during World War II, thinks that the quality of life for Indians here has vastly improved, though. “Most Indians who move to Dallas from Oklahoma,” she says, “usually hear MY NAME & ADDRESS THE TEXAS OBSERVER 600 W. 7th, Austin, Texas 78701 this subscription is for myself gift subscription send card in my name sample copy only you may use my name $20 enclosed for a one-year subscription bill me for $20 SEND THE OBSERVER TO name address city state zip 10 OCTOBER 9, 1981 about it from friends, family-relations, and then they decide. But once they get here it’s a lot different than they expect. And the greatest difficulty arises in the transition. At least today, there’s places they can go, places where they can talk to other Indians who can help them.” However, by the time an Indian finds help it is often too late, particularly if someone in the family has a drinking problem. According to Lucero, many Indians who move to the city are afraid to contact the people who can help them the most about not only alcoholism, but also medical problems and dental care. Lucero and the DIC have hired a complete staff of health care professionals and were preparing for a grand opening in May until they discovered that the program’s budget was going to be cut 50% last October and the program itself was scheduled to be phased out in two years. President Reagan proposes to consolidate the federal funding for the existing minority health and social service agencies into four block grants. This would effectively eliminate separate services for Indians, who, unlike blacks and Mexican-Americans, currently receive virtually no city or state support. In principle, Lucero thinks that Reagan’s plan “might work ten years down the road. But now the consequences for Indians are potentially disastrous. The Indian people need separate services because they are in a transitional stage. . . . In terms of Maslow’s hierar chy of needs, the Indian people are still on the bottom level survival struggling to fulfill their basic biological and safety needs. White people, on the other hand, are on the top, at the level of self-actualization, where creativity, experimentation, and meaningful growth occurs. The biggest problem with Reagan’s block grants is that most Indian people won’t take advantage of the services. It’s already been proven. They won’t come because they don’t want to be embarrassed.” At this point the DIC health program receives its support principally from the Community Services Administration the National Health Service Corps \(which provides a dentist, a doctor, and a groups in Dallas make regular contributions, in return for which assorted leaders from the Indian community attend luncheons and meetings, state their gratitude publicly, and sometimes provide programs of “traditional Indian dancing.” How To Resist? The dancers, often high school age or a little older, are not especially interested in dancing in front of a bunch of middleaged white people. In fact, in private some of them are resentful. Many feel that they are forced to reinforce a stereotype. Bernice Johnson, director of the Arrowhead arts and crafts program at DIC, remarked, “We’d fight back, but we barely know how. As the old saying goes, we’re just up a creek.” For 17 of the 18 years that she has lived in Dallas she has worked to improve the livelihood of Indians, fighting the established bureaucracies as a volunteer, a social worker, and an administrator, yet over the years she has had few successes and has become more resigned. From Lucero’s point of view, the more extreme manifestations of resignation, the lack of motivation and incentive, are the chief problems in the Indian commu Indians stand to lose with block grants from page 1